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Apple working with partners to improve Mac gaming performance

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 
With more major releases than ever headed to the Mac platform thanks to the release of Valve's Steam service, Apple is working closely with its hardware and software partners to improve performance of graphically intensive titles.

Rob Barris, a Valve employee who worked on the Steam client for Mac, revealed on the company's official forums that improvements are expected in the near future. He said that smaller, quick fixes could come sooner, though improved drivers in the future are expected to have the greatest impact.

"Performance is going to improve as drivers are updated," Barris wrote. "I would expect modest improvements in short term and larger ones in longer term. No, I can't put dates on them."

He continued, "We are making a lot of progress is identifying specific issues that need work inside the game and inside OpenGL and drivers. Apple, ATI and NVIDIA are all involved."

Barris' comments came in response to a thread complaining about game performance within Mac OS X. Though performance so far has been decent, it has fallen behind PC counterparts running similar hardware with Windows 7.

Steam is an online gaming networking service and storefront, which allows users to connect with one another, track each others' achievements in specific titles, and join each others' online games quickly. Its release for the Mac in May has inspired some game developers to bring their titles to the Mac, which traditionally has not been a strong gaming platform.

Earlier this month, Valve revealed through its monthly hardware survey that more than 8 percent of Steam users were on Mac OS X. Apple achieved that total in its first month of availability.

In March, when Steam for Mac was announced, Valve told AppleInsider that it worked closely with Apple to bring the client natively to the Mac.

"We've been working with them a bunch as we get more acquainted with their platform," said John Cook, director of Steam development at Valve. "They've been a great partner so far and we look forward to growing our relationship with them over time."
post #2 of 49
I'm the first!
post #3 of 49
Instead, improve the iPhone 4 ordering system first.
post #4 of 49
finally OpenGL 3.0 for mac maybe?
post #5 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cbswe View Post

finally OpenGL 3.0 for mac maybe?

I believe it came out with MacOS X 10.6.3.
post #6 of 49
I have been playing TW Online and have found that either I am really bad, which is kind of true, or my iMac 24 with 3 gig ram cant handle it. I am surprised by periodic messages saying my system performance is slow. Is this normal? Is the iMac with upgraded ram just not capable of this kind of graphic performance? I close all other software and run as full screen. If I do not use full screen the performance is really really bad.
post #7 of 49
It didn't. It's still missing a couple extension.
post #8 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by hezetation View Post

I'm the first!

Who cares!
post #9 of 49
Its hard to fix low end hardware or the fact you cant updgrade it in all but the Mac Pro.
post #10 of 49
Software Store fronts.. gotta love'em.
post #11 of 49
This article is a repeat of Macrumor's story, with no credit given.

As for OpenGL performance vis a vis Apple, I'm not holding my breath. Side note: 256MB DDR3 VRAM is standard on Macs, while 1GB DDR5 is standard on PCs.
post #12 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Damn_Its_Hot View Post

Who cares!

Didn't think I did, then it happened that I was.

Grumpy?
post #13 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1337_5L4Xx0R View Post

Side note: 256MB DDR3 VRAM is standard on Macs, while 1GB DDR5 is standard on PCs.

No it's not... at least not on the cheap to mid PCs. Only high end gaming PCs have that and those machines often cost more than a Mac.

All being said though it's going to get real interesting for Mac gaming in the next year or so.
post #14 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1337_5L4Xx0R View Post

Side note: 256MB DDR3 VRAM is standard on Macs, while 1GB DDR5 is standard on PCs.

Troll much?

iPhone 4S 64GB, Black, soon to be sold in favor of a Nokia Lumia 920
Early 2010 MacBook Pro 2.4GHz, soon to be replaced with a Retina MacBook Pro, or an Asus U500

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iPhone 4S 64GB, Black, soon to be sold in favor of a Nokia Lumia 920
Early 2010 MacBook Pro 2.4GHz, soon to be replaced with a Retina MacBook Pro, or an Asus U500

Reply
post #15 of 49
Apple is working with another company to get their software to run better in OSX? NO WAY! What about all those cries from people that said Apple should never have to do this, and it's Adobe's fault that Flash sucks in OSX?

OBVIOUSLY I WAS CORRECT ALL ALONG

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukeskymac View Post

Troll much?

lmfao! It's like he's not even trying.

GDDR5 isn't standard on PC video cards. It's just there. In fact, doesn't the GTX 280 have a Mac counterpart that uses GDDR5?
post #16 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

Apple is working with another company to get their software to run better in OSX? NO WAY! What about all those cries from people that said Apple should never have to do this, and it's Adobe's fault that Flash sucks in OSX?

OBVIOUSLY I WAS CORRECT ALL ALONG


lmfao! It's like he's not even trying.

GDDR5 isn't standard on PC video cards. It's just there. In fact, doesn't the GTX 280 have a Mac counterpart that uses GDDR5?

The Radeon HD 4850? Outdated, but yeah, it does.

iPhone 4S 64GB, Black, soon to be sold in favor of a Nokia Lumia 920
Early 2010 MacBook Pro 2.4GHz, soon to be replaced with a Retina MacBook Pro, or an Asus U500

Reply

iPhone 4S 64GB, Black, soon to be sold in favor of a Nokia Lumia 920
Early 2010 MacBook Pro 2.4GHz, soon to be replaced with a Retina MacBook Pro, or an Asus U500

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post #17 of 49
Current Intel IGPs are pretty terrible. They will be doubling in ability in 2011 with Sandy Bridge and doubling again the following year with its successor. So in 2012 Intel IGPs will catch up with mid-level 2010 graphics tech. Uhm, yay?

IGPs are well and away the largest selling graphics chips on the market. The discrete graphics market is far smaller. It's kind of weird b/c you have all these companies creating games that require better graphics cards, programs written to make use of your graphics card for parallel processing, etc and then you have Intel pushing terrible IGPs.
post #18 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmas View Post

I believe it came out with MacOS X 10.6.3.

Not completely, they're still on OpenGL shading language 1.2. The one in OpenGL 3.0 is 1.3, the latest is 4.0, it's from OpenGL 4.0 :P
post #19 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by skipthedog69 View Post

Instead, improve the iPhone 4 ordering system first.

They have more than a few employees and will fix gaming and the ordering system in parallel.

This is great news that Apple is taking gaming seriously after many decades of not doing so. The hope is Apple will put some engineers on OpenGL and make it a better gaming set of APIs than DirectX. Here's hoping!
post #20 of 49
Y'know, even with rbarris' word on it, I don't believe for a second that Apple is suddenly, magically becoming Not-Apple and contributing any effort towards Mac gaming. Sure, Valve clearly cares a lot about it, and maybe even AMD and nVidia (which would be an incredible stretch, considering where their allegiances understandably lie), but Apple? Lol no. If they were any more apathetic to the idea, I'd say they were definitively against it.
post #21 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by lowededwookie View Post

No it's not... at least not on the cheap to mid PCs. Only high end gaming PCs have that and those machines often cost more than a Mac.

All being said though it's going to get real interesting for Mac gaming in the next year or so.

Well, they must be 'cheeeeeeeeeeap' PC to 'mid' PCs because I see plenty of PCs packing more that 256 VU ram.

Often cost more than a Mac..?

Only if you post on these forums and block out reality and tell yourself that a million times.

But in the real world...

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply
post #22 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeskater View Post

Apple doesn't offer anything even remotely close to the GTX 280 and that card is about 2 years old already.

No kidding.

What do you need a two year old 280 GTX for? You only have to pay £2000 to get access to a 2 year old card.

Much better instead to get the *whoo new mini with its integrated crappics for £650.

Apple twice the price for hardware that performs twice as bad as the PC equivalent...with *poor Open GL drivers.

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply
post #23 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

In March, when Steam for Mac was announced, Valve told AppleInsider that it worked closely with Apple to bring the client natively to the Mac.

"We've been working with them a bunch as we get more acquainted with their platform," said John Cook, director of Steam development at Valve. "They've been a great partner so far and we look forward to growing our relationship with them over time."

This is a funny quote. Steam essentially uses a binary translator to map from dx9 to opengl... there's nothing "native" about that. Maybe the steam client app menus are native?
post #24 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shunnabunich View Post

Y'know, even with rbarris' word on it, I don't believe for a second that Apple is suddenly, magically becoming Not-Apple and contributing any effort towards Mac gaming.

Wager?
post #25 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemon Bon Bon. View Post

Well, they must be 'cheeeeeeeeeeap' PC to 'mid' PCs because I see plenty of PCs packing more that 256 VU ram.

Often cost more than a Mac..?

Only if you post on these forums and block out reality and tell yourself that a million times.

But in the real world...

Lemon Bon Bon.

I can assure you that they are not standard. The poster said 1GB DDR5 cards are standard. Cheap PCs these days may have 512MB but not 1GB and not DDR5.
post #26 of 49
Does this finally mean Apple will catch up to the rest of the high-end PC industry and offer 512 MB of VRAM as baseline?
PC Gamer, Musician, Mac Geek. | Jerion.us
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PC Gamer, Musician, Mac Geek. | Jerion.us
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post #27 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by jukes View Post

This is a funny quote. Steam essentially uses a binary translator to map from dx9 to opengl... there's nothing "native" about that. Maybe the steam client app menus are native?

As does every other Mac port.
post #28 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

Apple is working with another company to get their software to run better in OSX? NO WAY! What about all those cries from people that said Apple should never have to do this, and it's Adobe's fault that Flash sucks in OSX?

OBVIOUSLY I WAS CORRECT ALL ALONG


lmfao! It's like he's not even trying.

GDDR5 isn't standard on PC video cards. It's just there. In fact, doesn't the GTX 280 have a Mac counterpart that uses GDDR5?

Apple's working on improving the way APPLE'S APIs work on the system, to improve it for OTHER developers to use. Apple is NOT developing their API's FOR them.

Adobe is responsible for their own issues in their own software. The problem with Flash is not problems in Apple's APIs, its Adobe's lack of interest in making a half decent version of Flash for Mac. Apple can't do another company's work for them.
post #29 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeskater View Post

There is actually one high end card that you can get from Nvidia that you can buy on your own for the Mac Pro. Its a GTX 285. Only problem is you have to run Windows in bootcamp to take full advantage of it....lol.

Actually, 285 GTX is not really a high end card these days.
post #30 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by lowededwookie View Post

I can assure you that they are not standard. The poster said 1GB DDR5 cards are standard. Cheap PCs these days may have 512MB but not 1GB and not DDR5.

LOL. Your 'assurances' are like sand.

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showpr...odid=FS-237-OK

...here.

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showpr...odid=FS-021-OP

...and here! (All but one of the GPU options have 1 gig of Vram on.)

Not standard. If they're not, they nearly bloody well are. In PC World you can get rigs with GPUs offering 1 gig of Vram. That's pretty much mainstream.

Also, note the 6 core desktop while Apple quietly tout their 'fanny' of an update Mac 'mini.'

6 core is on the PC side for less than a grand. Yet on Apple? You have to pay about £1500 to get someone that has been standard ie quad core, on PCs for years.

Laughs.

Open GL performance has sucked for one reason or another for years on the Mac. As has gaming performance, as has gpu cards included in the mini and iMac, as have the gpu cards on an expensive Mac Pro (and then only as yet another option to buy...) often with less vram than 'standard' on the PC side.

Credit Valve for dragging Mac gaming kicking and screaming from the Dark Ages to the 21st Century. But it's still a painful road ahead when Macs are about 100% behind on eg a Mac Pro with the 'add on' card you ponied £2300 for minus a monitor!

I've been rooting for Mac Gaming for some time.

Apple just need to get off their lazy ass and push it. Offer better gpus as options. Build a goddamn mini-tower instead of that aborted biscuit tin they call a 'mini.'

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply
post #31 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by gotApple View Post

Actually, 285 GTX is not really a high end card these days.

Yeah. And you can put it in a rig that cost less than half the price of the 'pro'.

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply
post #32 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cbswe View Post

Not completely, they're still on OpenGL shading language 1.2. The one in OpenGL 3.0 is 1.3, the latest is 4.0, it's from OpenGL 4.0 :P

There is an Open GL 4? Didn't know about that. Does the latest shader support in GL 4 give Direct X parity?

Comparing the screen quality on Anand tech site showed a slight visual nod to Direct X.

Either down to Apple's drivers and/or lack of latest GL support.

*thought. Do we have to wait until OS.7 to get Open GL 4?

We could be in for a looooooong wait.

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

Reply
post #33 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemon Bon Bon. View Post

I've been rooting for Mac Gaming for some time.

Apple just need to get off their lazy ass and push it. Offer better gpus as options. Build a goddamn mini-tower instead of that aborted biscuit tin they call a 'mini.'

I've been rooting for some time, as well.

But Steve's "Apple is now a mobile devices company" statement has finally deflated my hopes.

If Apple is working on software to improve gaming, it will probably be focused more on iPhone 4's 6-axis gyro, and the next generation iPad. \
post #34 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by jukes View Post

This is a funny quote. Steam essentially uses a binary translator to map from dx9 to opengl... there's nothing "native" about that. Maybe the steam client app menus are native?

From what I have read in forums and posts Steam (and Valve games on the Mac) are Mac native binaries and are not using some sort of virtualisation like Cider.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post

As does every other Mac port.

That's not the case. I have worked on Mac games (from the PC or console) for a Mac game developer/publisher and have seen well over 20 ports first hand and every port I have worked on is a 100% native Mac application, at no point does any binary translations take place. The only ports that do it that way (as far as I know) are ones based on Cider tech or similar design methodologies.

Edwin
post #35 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by PG4G View Post

Apple's working on improving the way APPLE'S APIs work on the system, to improve it for OTHER developers to use. Apple is NOT developing their API's FOR them.

Adobe is responsible for their own issues in their own software. The problem with Flash is not problems in Apple's APIs, its Adobe's lack of interest in making a half decent version of Flash for Mac. Apple can't do another company's work for them.

Well that was my first thought, too, when I read the headline. I don't quite care who's responsibility Flash performance on the Mac is, it would be nice to see some more cooperation.
post #36 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by lowededwookie View Post

No it's not... at least not on the cheap to mid PCs. Only high end gaming PCs have that and those machines often cost more than a Mac.

All being said though it's going to get real interesting for Mac gaming in the next year or so.

Your so wrong its not even funny. My brother just bought this...

http://www.microcenter.com/single_pr...uct_id=0328135

$139 with 1gig of DDR5 and DX11/Open GL 3.2 support.
post #37 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by bettieblue View Post

Your so wrong its not even funny. My brother just bought this...

http://www.microcenter.com/single_pr...uct_id=0328135

$139 with 1gig of DDR5 and DX11/Open GL 3.2 support.

You do realize that aftermarket video cards are a drop in the ocean compared to how many computers come with shitty Intel IGPs right? Yes, there are people who build their own systems or buy a new vcard to upgrade a system they bought, but that is a huge minority compared to people who buy computers with shit IGPs, who never upgrade (hell most don't even get their Windows updates installed) and who just throw it away in a couple of years and buy a new one.

So no, 1GB DDR5 is NOT standard on purchased pcs. Shitty Intel IGP is standard.
post #38 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTel View Post

They have more than a few employees and will fix gaming and the ordering system in parallel.

This is great news that Apple is taking gaming seriously after many decades of not doing so. The hope is Apple will put some engineers on OpenGL and make it a better gaming set of APIs than DirectX. Here's hoping!

I doubt it. Gaming is 80% consoles (xbox, ps3/ps2, will, DS, PSP) 19% PC gaming, 1% everything else.

There is no money in gaming on the Mac. Steam did it simply to grow steam as much as possible. You cant hardly find PC or Mac games in any retail stores now, Game stop has maybe a few titles, Bestbuy a few...maybe Walmart. Steam is the defacto standard for PC's these days. So steam is capitilizing on that 19% of gamers and maximizing it as much as possbile by including Mac's.

Apple cares about iOS games first and foremost.
post #39 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemon Bon Bon. View Post

There is an Open GL 4? Didn't know about that. Does the latest shader support in GL 4 give Direct X parity?

Comparing the screen quality on Anand tech site showed a slight visual nod to Direct X.

Either down to Apple's drivers and/or lack of latest GL support.

*thought. Do we have to wait until OS.7 to get Open GL 4?

We could be in for a looooooong wait.

Lemon Bon Bon.

I'm guessing we'll have to wait until 10.7 to just get full 3.0 support, let alone 4.0. Apple still has a ways to go in 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3 support before they even think about 4.0.

And from what I hear, yes OGL 4.0 will match DX11.
post #40 of 49
Apple's focus for gaming is first and foremost for that of their iOS. Not much surprise there since the majority of games are made for one type of closed system or another. Hopefully, there will be some trickling of gaming love to the Mac from the effort being put into the iOS.

As for the hardware side of computer gaming, I remember my PC days of gaming and having to buy new video cards approx. every 1.5 years, at a cost that was near equal to that of the current gaming console being sold. Then there was the always changing bus system, that meant I got about two video card upgrades before having to buy a new motherboard, along with a new CPU and RAM. I love playing games on a computer vs a gaming console, but the task of keeping a PC updated to play the newest games was a chore. So I switched to Mac, and being that my largest gaming addiction, World of Warcraft, was available I didn't feel like I was missing out too much from not having a dedicated gaming PC.

But now we see a possibility of more games and choices coming to a Mac via PC and now we see Mac's stifled hardware looking to hold be a big obstacle for many games. The constricted hardware on an Apple is only a problem due to the games coming from a PC, where the developers can build their games for the latest and greatest video cards and hardware, then a game gets funneled to the lesser hardware on a Mac. Now, if a game where designed from the ground up with a Mac's hardware specs in mind, great games could and can be made. An example of this is what Blizzard creates, in which the PC and Mac versions are created in tandem and the level of hardware on a Mac us taken into account. If more game developers take an approach similar to Blizzard's and develop a game with the idea of also putting it on a Mac, then perhaps the hardware requirements of new PC games will lessen from what they are now. Of course if Apple brings a Mac's development tools and hardware to be more in line with what is on a PC, this would reduce the burden and cost needed for cross platform development.
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